Applicator Core Study Guide
Use this study guide to help you prepare for the core certification exam.
SKILL AREAS - skills within the following areas are considered essential to safe pesticide application:
2. Pest Identification & Life History
3. Pest Control/Alternatives to Chemical Control/IPM
4. Label Comprehension
5. Symptoms & Treatment for Poisoning
6. Personal Safety
7. Transportation/Storage & Disposal/Spill clean-up
8. Equipment Types/Maintenance/Application Technique/Types of Pesticides/Formulations
9. Calibration/Mixing Calculations
10. Environmental Concerns
- Know the federal and state laws that regulate pesticide application.
- the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) regulates pesticide registration, sale and use
- FIFRA sets minimum standards for certification, training and licensing of pesticide applicators
- the State of Delaware Pesticide law, and its rules and regulations regulate pesticide registration, sale and use in Delaware; and certification, training and licensing of pesticide applicators
- the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA) changes the way tolerances are set and the way pesticides are registered
- the Worker Protection Standards (WPS) protects workers on farms, forests, nurseries, and green houses
- Understand the applicator's responsibility under the law for handling & use.
Know the requirements of:
- pesticide transportation, storage, mixing/loading and application.
- waste pesticide disposal
- pesticide rinsate disposal
- pesticide container disposal
- the applicator's responsibility in supervising non-licensed applicators
- the applicator's responsibility in making pesticide recommendations according to the "label"
- that the "label" is the law
- Know the federal and state record keeping requirements/laws.
- the records required of applicators and the length of time to be kept
- the penalties for not keeping proper records
- Know applicators responsibilities under WPS.
- Understand consequences of illegal use of pesticides.
Know that a fine or sentence can be imposed for illegal use of pesticide products for:
- detaching, altering, defacing or destroying the pesticide label
- placing a pesticide in a container other than the original
- improper transportation, storage or disposal of pesticides
- improper mixing, loading or application of pesticides
- application to a site not listed on the label
- application of higher concentrations or more frequent applications than listed on the label
- failure to keep proper records
- making a recommendation not in accordance with the label
- failure to properly inform non-licensed applicators under the supervision of a licensed applicator
Know that a pesticide may be:
- applied to a pest not listed on the label
- applied with equipment not prohibited by the label
- applied at rates below those listed on the label
- pesticides & pesticides or pesticides & fertilizers may be mixed if not prohibited by the label
- the consequence of not reporting a spill
- Know procedure for certification and recertification of applicators.
- Be aware that there are agencies that regulate pesticide applicators.
Know the function of:
- the EPA in regards to regulation of pesticide registration, use and disposal
- the Delaware Department of Agriculture in regards to regulation of pesticide registration, use and disposal
- the Delaware Department of Natural resources and Environmental regulation in regards to spill cleanup
- Know distinction between private and commercial applicators.
- Know the definition and categories of pests (insects & relatives, weeds, plant pathogens, vertebrates).
- Understand importance of pest identification in making control decisions. Know the environmental and economic consequences of basing control decision on incorrect pest identification.
- Know how to obtain identification of pest beyond major group (if needed) for control decision.
- Know that there are resources for information from Delaware Cooperative Extension service.
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3. SKILL AREA: PEST CONTROL/ALTERNATIVES TO CHEMICAL CONTROL/IRM
- Know how to decide if and when to use pest control; and know what information is needed to decide whether or not to apply pest control.
Understand the concept of economic threshold.
- Understand the objectives of pest control:
- Know how and when to use each type of pest control:
- chemical control
- cultural control
- biological control
- mechanical control
- host resistance
- Know how to combine different types of pest control (chemical, cultural, biological, mechanical, host resistance, sanitation and natural control) in an IPM program.
- Understand importance of knowing life cycle of pests to control decisions.
Know which stage of the pest:
- is most susceptible to pesticides
- most susceptible to other means of control
- is not susceptible to pesticides
- is not susceptible to other means of control
- Be able to recognize treatment stage(s) of pests.
- the distinction between mature and immature insects
- how to recognize different life stages of weeds
- Know how to find certain information on the label.
Know how to determine:
- the type of pesticide (insecticide, fungicide, herbicide, avicide, rodenticide, nematicide, algicide, etc.)
- what action to take to prevent poisoning
- what PPE to wear
- how to find first aid information
- the environmental hazards
- the toxicity to bees, fish and wildlife
- the reentry time
- proper storage and disposal
- the formulation
- physical or chemical hazards
- directions for use
- Know that the Label is the Law. Know the consequences of using a pesticide not in accordance with the label.
- Know terminology on the label. Know the definition of pesticide-related terms often found on the label.
- Know that there are different types of pesticide registrations.
- Know the applicator's responsibilities under each:
- Section 18 (emergency exemption) registration
- Section 24C (special local need) registration
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5. SKILL AREA: SYMPTOMS OF & TREATMENT FOR POISONING
- Know common symptoms of pesticide poisoning.
Know the significance of:
- nausea, headaches, dizziness, confusion, weakness, sweating, diarrhea, shaking, thirst, cramps, hallucinations, and other changes in the body while applying pesticides or afterward
Know emergency procedures for accidental exposure.
Know what to do:
- if someone swallows a pesticide
- if someone inhales a pesticide
- for pesticide exposure to the eye
- when pesticide spills on the skin
Understand the differences between short-term and long-term health effects of pesticide poisoning.
Know that there are precautions for special groups.
- some people may be hypersensitive to pesticides
- pregnant women may suffer adverse effects from pesticides
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6. SKILL AREA: PERSONAL SAFETY
- Understand the concept of risk = (toxicity x exposure).
Know how to:
- reduce toxicity levels of pesticides
- reduce exposure to pesticides
- Understand the routes of entry of pesticides into the human body.
- inhalation exposure may happen
- dermal exposure may happen
- exposure from ingestion may happen
- Know how to protect the routes of entry from exposure to pesticides.
- how to protect from ingestion of pesticides
- how to protect from inhalation of pesticides
- how to protect the skin from exposure
- how to protect the eyes from contact with pesticides
- how to properly launder clothing used in pesticide application
- the steps of personal cleanup
- Know the types of PPE available to applicators and required features.
- Know how & when to use; how to clean, maintain & store; and when to dispose of:
- head protection
- outer clothing protection
- hand protection
- foot protection
- goggles and face shields
- Know how to determine what PPE is needed when the label does not specify.
Know how to interpret the signal words, route of entry statements and the specific action statements.
- Know the action to take for accidental exposure.
Know what to do when:
- a pesticide splashes on the skin
- a pesticide splashes in the eyes
- a pesticide splashes on clothing
- pesticide fumes or vapors are present
- a pesticide splashes on the face
- Know how to safely transport pesticides.
- the safest vehicle to use
- where to place containers in the vehicle
- how to properly secure containers
- what to do in case of an accident on the highway
- the reason for not carrying food, feed, fertilizer, people, or animals with pesticides
- Know how to properly store pesticides.
- to separate pesticides by type in storage
- to never store pesticides in any container other than the original
- that pesticides should be stored in a cool, dry, locked, well-ventilated facility equipped with stainless steel shelves and a sealed concrete floor
- Know how to legally dispose of waste pesticides, rinsate, empty containers and contaminated clothing.
- Know how to handle a spill in the storage facility or during transportation.
- how to contain the spill
- how to pick up the spill material
- how to decontaminate the site
- how to dispose of the spill material
- what agencies must be notified
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8. SKILL AREA: EQUIPMENT TYPES / MAINTENANCE/APPLICATION AND TYPES OF PESTICIDES / FORMULATIONS / ADJUVANTS
- Know the function of different types of pesticide application equipment and how to operate them.
- Know the parts of certain types of application equipment, such as pressure gages and regulators, control valves, strainers, and agitators.
- Know how to clean and maintain certain types of equipment.
- the general cleaning steps to take after finishing an application
- where to do clean-up
- the general maintenance steps to take after finishing an application
- the proper procedure for end-of-season-storage for equipment
- Know how to safely load pesticides.
- the general procedures for loading liquids, dusts and granulars
- how to avoid back-siphonage
- Know application techniques.
Know how to make:
- banded, broadcast and directed applications with boom sprayers
- in-furrow, t-band, band and broadcast applications with granular applications
- Know how to choose the proper pesticide/adjuvant/ formulation for the job.
- Understand importance of pesticide spray compatibility and know how to conduct pesticide spray compatibility tests.
- Understand importance of proper calibration.
- Know the legal, environmental, and economic consequences of over application, as well as the economic consequences
of under application.
- Know how to do calibration using portion of acre method and tank refill method.
- Know how to calculate dilutions/mixtures for application to a given spray area.
10. SKILL AREA: ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
- Know the factors influencing the severity of environmental contamination from pesticides.
- soil texture and chemistry may affect the fate of pesticides
- wind speed, direction and temperature affect pesticide movement
- pesticide chemistry & formulation will affect the impact of pesticides on the environment
- Understand the importance of protecting the environment from pesticide contamination.
Know the consequences of environmental contamination to humans and off-target organisms.
- Understand the concepts of pesticide movement, accumulation and persistence in the environment.
- Know how pesticides breakdown in soil, air and water.
- Understand the concepts of point-source and non-point source pollution by pesticides.
- Know how to protect the environment from pesticide contamination.
- Know how to prevent water and soil contamination, and drift.